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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  March 12, 2010 12:00am-1:00am EST

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homosexuals are homosapiens. and "how homosexual rights and privileges have eroded employer's rights and destroyed religious freedom." how i ever missed pat robinson's anti-fornicator's region he not university with liberty university is beyond me. i'm not sure why i would ever make that association, and i would like to promise i would never make that association again, but i cannot be entirely sure. that said, i am still sorry about it. that does it for us tonight. we'll see you again tomorrow night from new york. hardball is next. good night. so it's official. harry reid tells mitch mcconnell he's using reconciliation. harry reid is playing hardball, and so are we.
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good evening, i'm chuck todd, and reconcile this. harry reid takes off the gloves and plays his own version of hardball. the one-time boxer turned senate majority leader formally notified his republican counterpart, mitch mcconnell, that he will use the senate rule to get those fixes to health care pass. any republican fill buster against those fixes the senate wants to make on their already passed health care bill that has to get passed in the house. the mover is nothing short of a senate declaration of political war. we'll get to the bare knuckle fight. some of his former navy shipmates said they were subject to his unwanted advances, and
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now nancy pelosi is wondering if she shouldn't have taken a warning about his erratic behavior more seriously. we're going to talk to the establishment guy in one race, pennsylvania's arlen specter, and the insurgent guy in another race, andrew rome nof, who is challenging michael bennett in colorado. also, more trouble for john ensign. just when republicans think they have democrats in an ethics bind, then comes their own ethical problem in the form of the senator from nevada. he tried to direct lobbying gigs to the husband of his former mistress. does this put him in hot water with the fbi? we're going to get to that in the politics fix. finally, our friend there, ousted illinois governor and soon to be an apprentice contesta contestant, rodney blagojevich, sure does love cracking jokes at his own expense.
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he delivered letterman's top 10 list last night, which was all about himself, and he loved it. we'll have it in the side show, which is what rod blagojevich has become. we're joined by congressman rich gutierrez of illinois. he's headed to the white house right after this interview to sit down with president obama about his own problems he still has with what's left of health care. in fact, congressman, let's start with an issue i'm pretty sure you're going to bring up with the president, and that has to do with immigration and what illegal immigrants can or can't do in the health care bill. what is it about the senate bill that you don't like that you want to see changed? >> lrtall right. a couple things. if i could just say so we frame this correctly, when the president first came to me and others, we accepted, reluctantly, and we thought it was bad public policy, but we accepted for the bill to move guard, undocumented immigrants,
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illegal, here in the united states would be excluded. that wasn't easy to do, but we did it. but then the president kind of doubled down, right? he said, even if they go to the exchange with their own money, they can't buy health care for themselves and for their families. and i'm kind of like, whoa, they collect the money from the irs and their taxes and they go to the store to shop, why can't they pay, especially since they're younger, less likely to use health care, and the premiums will go to helping support the system. so we want people to pay, but he said, no, not even then can they come. and secondly, i think it's very important for people to understand that in the senate, which looks like the way we're going here, they're going to exclude illegal permanent residents for the first five years. that is to say, it's a mandate that they go out and purchase health care, but they can't get any subsidy, they're required -- we want immigrants.
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we're also saying, why don't immigrants play by the rules? well, they want to play by the rules, but then we're saying they're not really part of the rules. >> let's get down to brass tacks. are those two issues enough for you to say, you know what? i can't support this bill. >> they are enough to say i can't support this bill. i'm looking forward to talking to the president and see if he can't give us some kind of holistic explanation of what we're doing, because health care and immigration, housing, immigration, banking system, immigration, they're all intertwined. let's deal with it in a comprehensive manner so the president doesn't have to be, i think, really demeaning. t the stature of his office and himself, because i don't think he really believes that, and maybe somebody at the white house told him that was the way to go to gain some leverage in the public. >> you said somebody at the white house. who at the white house specifically? >> i wouldn't know who at the
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white house, but i would suspect -- i don't really think it's him. i don't think he came and had that altercation with congressman wilson and then the next day woke up and said, i'm going to double down. not only did i say yesterday that illegals -- by the way, he used to call them illegal workers. >> you lie from that speech had to do with when the president said his health care plan did not give health care to illegal immigrants, correct? >> and let me tell you something. because he had to convince me and others to exclude them, it was like the next thing he doubled down. he said, you know what, not even that. even with exchange of their own money would we allow them. i just think the president is being advised poorly. >> you brought up immigration and talked about how it's intertwined with a number of issues, not just health care, you brought up financial reform. we know the issue of financial immigration reform came up at
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the white house. i guess my question is, if the president said to you, congressman gutierrez, here's what i'm going to do. you're going to have to live with this senate language, however, i'm taking on immigration this year. i'm not putting it off until next year, i'm taking it on this year. i had a good meeting with senator graham and senator shoeman who were both at the white house today. would that be good enough? >> i want to be helpful, but quite honestly, you know, understand, i'm from chicago, i still remember december of 2006 when i got the call from my junior senator and he said, come on down, luis, i'm going to hawaii. when i come back, i think i want to run for president. will you help me? i said, go ahead and enjoy hawaii. when you come back i'll stand with you, and i did.
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if we could have a little more of that 2004 barack obama who just thrilled us all at the democratic convention, and he applied some of that enthusiasm and charisma to the immigration, i want to see that come back. i want to see barack obama be president barack obama. >> very quickly, congressman, while i have you. are you going to run for mayor of chicago next year? >> no. i called the mayor about a month ago and told him i'm going to be for mayor daly. >> all right, congressman, thank you for joining us. good luck at the white house. with me now, new york times white house reporter, jeff zelany. you heard that interview. it seems like they're not happy about how the immigration issue has dealt with, not just on the health care bill, but the whole idea of immigration reform, so it sounds like to me if he gets a pledge that the president is going to push immigration reform this year, he'll sign off on what he doesn't like in the
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health care bill. >> that's what it sounded like. it's kind of hard to imagine that the president would agree to do immigration reform this year or would have the support to go forward with it. we're already pushing the envelope far closer to the mid-term elections with this big health care fight. equally interesting, i thought, what congressman gutierrez was saying was we want to see some of that old barack obama. what happened to that 2006 barack obama? this next week or two-week period here really is a lot of more infighting among some of president obama's close allies than they ever hoped to get at this point. the immigration thing, i somehow think president obama will be able to talk his old friend from chicago off the ledge on this one. >> it certainly sounded like he was willing -- he wasn't willing to put his vote on the line, it didn't sound like, at the end of the day. i want to move on, speaking of this trip a little bit. in the press room today, look
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how many people asked robert gibbs about this trip. as you know, the schedule is laying out. he's supposed to leave a week from today, march 18, which was a deadline that robert gibbs and some at the white house had publicly said they would like to see the house deal with health care, and so now a lot of people are wondering, is this trip in jeopardy either in whole or in part? take a listen at the battery of questions he got today. >> is the president still planning to launch his trip on time? any chance for delay? >> if we have any changes in the schedule, we'll certainly let you know. >> does the president still want that passed by the house before he gets on the plane? >> again, if it takes a couple days extra trip, we'll be happy to have it passed then, too. >> is there anything about the trip that could be delayed? could you put on off a couple weeks to deal with health care? >> the trip won't be put off. >> are you aware of any con t g
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contingency plan to move it back? >> i don't have any plans to move the trip. >> you take words for it but you look to wonder, is there wiggle room. did you hear wiggle room? >> i think there is wiggle room on this, perhaps not what robert gibbs was saying today, but what the white house is hearing from house democrats. i was talking to one democrat yesterday saying, you mean we have to do this vote? the timeline for this is because the obama girls, the daughters, want to go on vacation during their spring break. the white house said this trip has been planned for a long time, it's about more than that. but i think if the white house gets enough push-back from white house democrats, they will think very strongly about reconsidering this trip. so it is really one of the many things that is rankling some house democrats right now. >> it's interesting that you brought up the fact that he is bringing his family with him. in fact, one of our colleagues there asked it in that way, is this more vacation than it is a serious trip, and robert seemed
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to bristle at that, but you're hearing from democrats saying, hey, don't make your deadline a vacation deadline? >> you heard penny hoyer and nancy pelosi pretty much pushed back this march deadline. what is happening behind closed doors is really a serious sentiment from house democrats that they feel they're being pushed too much on this. some of it want to go through just to get it over with, but others feel like the deadline is more about the president's schedule, and it's not the most pressing foreign trip that he's had since taking office, so right now they say they're still going forward with it, the white house has advanced people in india and australia. we'll find out how the white house reacts to this criticism. >> thanks for joining us.
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>> thank you. coming up, it's the eric massa mass or is it the eric massa mess? it got a whole lot messier. some of his navy shipmates speak out and they say it happened years ago. so everyone can get their fair share of funding. we can't move forward until you mail it back. 2010 census. a local woman is totally psyched for flip-flop weather. twitter confirms. [ male announcer ] introducing the backflip from at&t. breaking the news that's important to you. ♪ a late-breaking e-mail and wall post -- an area man has decided not to attend the paintball trip. [ male announcer ] introducing the backflip. facebook, twitter, text, and more streaming on a single screen.
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. welcome back. just when it looked like the eric massa saga was winding down, guess what? it didn't. today with the exception of a couple votes, the house unanimously passed a public resolution calling for the ethics committee to investigate what democratic house leaders knew about the massa mess and when they knew it. what will happen next and who is this going to hurt or help in november? kelly o'donnell covers congress for cnbc and msnbc. kelly, bring us up to date on this resolution. the republicans are kind of feeding the story, trying to give the story legs a little bit, but what is the news nugget they're hanging this on that they put this resolution on today? >> they thought, democrats did,
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that eric massa's resignation would be enough. it wasn't because there was some confusion about when did democratic officials know of some kind of problem happening in the office of the former new york congressman? so how does the story go? well, there have been questions about what did the speaker know? now, senior aides to the speaker say their office was given some information back in october, but not rising to the level of these sexual harassment allegations, it was really of a different tone. they said they were warned by one of massa's staffers at the time that the congressman had too many staffers, had been living with some of his staffers, and there were concerns about foul language. so today the speaker said that she did not know about the sexual harassment allegations until very late in the game. and so she is contending that she and her office were not aware for months. republicans raised that question. of course, the obvious implication is that they might have been hiding it, in
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political terms. the speaker's office says no, that's not what happened. so now they investigate. >> kelly, josh, i want to play a clip for you. she sat down with msnbc's rachel mad dow earlier today. it's going to air on rachel maddow's show. here's what the speaker said she knew about eric massa. >> when was your office first told concerns about his behavior? >> our office was told in february that there was an allegation against him, and that at the same time it was referred to the ethics committee, and that was the appropriate route. i'm now finding out there had been a conversation earlier, but it had nothing to do -- to even come close to any kind of allegation. it repeated something that had been in the newspaper the day before. >> kelly, very quickly, that's obviously -- so what is she saying the allegation that she thinks her staff got?
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that there was simply someone saying congressman massa is walking a line here. he's getting himself in trouble, but they didn't know what? >> at the time they didn't know there were advances being made, but people were concerned about the atmosphere, the foul language, maybe spending too much time with staffers all kind of living together. he had a home back in his district and had sort of an unconventional way to live in his district. that was really the issue was just kind of some problems on the horizon, different than these more specific allegations. that's her claim. >> josh green, you've done some reporting about sort of unusual behavior he exerted when he was in the navy, but you said in your reporting you were tipped off about somer i can massa allegations when he was first running for congress. so if you were tipped off, do we think that other democratic, at least campaign types, might have known something? >> i think so. massa has been a powder keg going back to his time in the
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navy, and i got a tip of an altercation he had with a campaigner -- >> an election lost. >> right, but he made allegations against a campaign manager that he later retracted about his son, all sorts of weird things. when i got in touch with these people t led to his navy colleagues, and now we see this whole line of people who have been groped or had strange encounters with massa. >> you got a lot of these colleagues to go on the record with you about his behavior. i guess my question is, what explanation do they give to you? why didn't they go to their -- to eric massa's senior officer and say, hey, he's doing this. why wouldn't they report it at the time? >> i think it was the fear of retaliation. massa was the number three commander on the ship, very senior. he was someone that people in the navy had pegged as somebody
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really ambitious, going to be admiral someday. you cross your own peril, and if you're a navy guy to make sexual allegations against the senior officer is a very scary thing. it wasn't until these congressional charges rolled out last week that they thought it was really time to go forward. >> kelly, i want to get back to you, because the house republicans feel like they've hit jackpot here, right, between eric massa, charlie rangel, you've got john conyers' wife caught up in a legal problem as well. they think they've hit the ethical motherlode. what did they say when democrats threw john ensign at them? >> here's one of the interesting things. i talked to eric baynor and asked him about that apparent contradiction, and he said republicans need to be better as well. and he even acknowledged that the handling of the mark foley issue some years ago where there were also these sexual connotations to it, that they handled that poorly.
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so they're kind of grabbing onto it now saying, let's do it better. we owe the american people that. that's a true view of policy, but it's also expedient because nancy pelosi herself had said this congress under her leadership would be the most ethical. she sort of put this out there as a standard that might have even been higher than people's normal expectations, and if there is something there for them to go after, they're certainly doing it aggressively, keeping that alive and trying to connect her to these eric massa allegations and saying she should have known. >> go to 30,000 feet here, because it does seem as if each time a political party in the last 20 years has lost control of congress, it's been the ethical issues that put it over the top, right? you have the check bouncing scandal of '92 which led to some shenaniga shenaniga shenanigans. are democrats extra sensitive to this?
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do they see it coming? >> these things move faster and faster and faster. it was only two years ago that it was mark foley and republicans causing all this, and now you have all these scandals. you have the skeptical massa thing, knowing when the house voted today to start an investigative subcommittee which is presumably issuing a report on june 30, much before the mid-term election, so you see a wave where democrats can run smack into problems like the republicans did. >> how quickly would the ethics committee -- it's not a formal -- it's not like they have to start an investigation, but one would assume they probably would start one just for political reasons. how quickly would it start up? >> with the overwhelming vote in favor of this, it would suggest they would do it. they had only barely begun before massa had resigned. they could get going quite quickly, but these things usually take a long time, so the
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june 30 deadline is pretty quick at the pace the ethics committee would typically work. >> we shall see. kelly o'donnell, thank you. josh green, quite the week for you. tim geithner, a huge profile. still a must-read, and eric massa, thanks for joining us. outgoing patrick kennedy has something to say about the massa scand scandal, too. we're going to have that next on the side show, only on msnbc. thl make these savings even more memorable. gecko: all right... gecko: good driver discounts. now that's the stuff...? boss: how 'bout this? gecko: ...they're the bee's knees? boss: or this? gecko: sir, how 'bout just "fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance." boss: ha, yeah, good luck with that catching on! anncr: geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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it's time for the side show. first up, stop the presses. patrick kennedy had a bone to pick with the media during yesterday's empty floor debate
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on afghanistan. >> if anybody wants to know where cynicism is, cynicism is -- there's one, two press people in this gallery. we're talking about eric massa 24/7 on the tv, we're talking about war and peace, $3 billion, 1,000 lives and no press! no press! you want to know why the american public is fit? they're fit because they're not seeing congress do the work they're set to do. it's because the press of the united states is not covering the most significant issue of national importance, and that's the laying of lives down in the nation for the service of our country. it's despicable in the national press corps right now. >> that had to do with a resolution about afghanistan and a withdrawal issue. what patrick kennedy was supporting went down to dramatic defeat. over 300 votes to his position on that. by the way, it was an empty
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chamber he was speaking to as well, and he's retiring, so the outrage is showing post-retirement. next, blago time. former illinois governor rod blagojevich, the future star of donald trump's show, "the apprentice" showed up on david letterman to deliver the top ten. it was a good one. >> number 10. >> can i get paid in shampoo? >> yeah. number six. >> is there any chance nbc will replace me with leno? >> excellent. excellent possibility. number 2. >> how come i'm not a governor and paterson is? >> and the number 1 question rod blagojevich asked himself before a on celebrity apprentice -- >> will my hair get along with trump's hair?
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>> so what do they say, it doesn't matter how you say my name, just make sure you spell it right or put me on tv? it does seem to me that's all blagojevich cares about. blagojevich has a corruption trial slated for later this year. now the big number. when the new york times best seller list comes out the week of march 21st, which politician will be on top? according to politico, mitt romney for his book, "no apology." his book will be number one on the politics best seller list. not number one for politics, number one. a lot of people didn't think he could get there with that. finally, a personal note just because i'm getting a chance to do this, i have to mark the passing of the great merlin olson. remember the los angeles rams fe fearsome foursome? later he joined the nbc family.
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he was a football commentator, he was also an actor on "little house on the prairie." best knew him there. he also played father murphy on another show. olson died today in california. he was just the nicest man who everybody said was one of the meanest defensive linemen. so go figure. merlin olson. rest in peace. (announcer) we send them off each day.
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they're the future of america, so let's bring them up right and give them our cheese. american cheese. kraft singles. put it in their lunch boxes. heck, put it right in their mouths. it's made with milk, never oil like some other slices. a country is only as good as its cheese. good thing ours doesn't have a bunch of holes in it. kraft singles - the american cheese.
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i'm lynn barry and here's what's happening. the city has agreed to settle more than 10,000 lawsuits filed by 9/11 emergency workers who said they were sickened by the dust. the money will come from a $1
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billion federal grant from fema. senate majority leader harry reid's wife and daughter were hurt seriously in a car accident. their vehicle was rear-ended by a semi truck. their injuries are not life threatening. the truck driver was charged with reckless driving. state attorney general andrew cuomo has taken himself out of the picture as the state sees two ethnic probes into governor paterson. they asked the judge to lead the investigations instead. stomp tiger woods may be coming back to golf for the masters tournament in april. now, back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." i'm chuck todd. i'm in for chris matthews who is in jordan with vice president
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biden. it's time to talk about some races. in a few minutes governor rome nof will be here. pennsylvania senator arlen specter who faces joe sestak on may 18. we're almost two months from that. before i get to that race, i want to go to senator reid's decision to formally inform the republicans that he'll go with this senate reconciliation. are you concerned about any of the long-term fallout on how the u.s. senate runs if and when you guys vote on some health care fixes this way? >> chuck, there are many precedents for using reconciliation in analogous circumstances. for example, on s-chip and cobra, medical advantage, health care
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reconciliation. and many of the republicans now who say don't do it, it's wrong, were firm advocates in the past. it's all over the congressional record in their words. >> where are you on the fi filibuster. senator bye has a proposal out there. it does seem like every 20 years the senate does try to change the filibuster rule when he went from 70 votes down to 60 votes. where were you on this? >> there was a major crisis in 2005 where the shoe was on the other foot, and the democrats were filibustering president bush's judicial nominees. >> and you were ready to go reconciliation, right? >> no, i wasn't. it wasn't reconciliation. there was an issue of what was called the nuclear constitutional option. and we were able to avoid that so that filibuster remains at 60 unless there is a rule change,
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and that's pretty tough to get. >> all right. well, i'm going to go to your senate primary. we're two months away in the campaign season. here is congressman sestak talking about you on monday's "hardball." take a listen. >> he has used language that has made me appear to people as though i'm a criminal, you know, and as though i'm breaking the law. and, you know, that's the kind of politics that people are saying we're tired of, that negativity. yeah, he brought it from the republican party leadership, and he's doing it again as he's done it in a dishonest way many, many times against opponents. >> that's some strong, i'd say, salty language. did you accuse him of some sort of criminal behavior? >> well, the statute says if you don't pay the minimum wage, you can go to jail. >> this has to do with his campaign staff, having to do with contractors instead of
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putting them on salary, correct? >> his campaign workers are required to be paid minimum wage by federal and state law, and it is documented by what congressman sestak's campaign has filed, that he paid them about $2.50 an hour, and that is a violation of law. when he says i'm using language unfairly, and it makes him out to be a criminal, i would ask him to define what he has done when he has violated a statute which provides a punishment, including a term in jail. ask him what he would call himself. that's a fact. >> we vaen sehaven't seen the t but very quickly, last question here, why should democratic voters in pennsylvania trust you now that you went from being a republican to a democrat. why should they trust you now? >> because i have a long record
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of supporting democratic values. in my tenure in the senate, i have voted perhaps more often with democrats on key issues like a woman's right to choose, opposing wireless wire tapping, opposing more. i faced the democrats. we had a state committee meeting, and i got an overwhelming endorsement from the state democratic committee of 229 to 69 votes. 77% of the democrats voted for me to be the nominee because they trust me and they trust me based on a very solid record. >> all right, senator specter. the good news is about our democracy. the voters are going to decide may 18. a big day in pennsylvania. i'm sure we'll be talking to you again. >> i'm ready. >> i want to turn to another senate race. this one is in colorado. we're going to talk to the insurgent of sorts where senator
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michael bennet faces a challenge. this one in august. he's going against former speaker romanoff. thanks for joining us here. simple question. what's the fireable offense with senator bennet? why shouldn't senator bennet be returned to the u.s. senate? what has he done that you were making the case, fire him, hire me? >> well, nobody in colorado other than the governor has had a chance to vote here. there are 3 million registered voters in this state. the governor filled a vacancy that was created when senator salazar joined the cabinet in 2008. i believe i've got the strongest record of legislative leadership, the deepest knowledge of our state, and i'm the only candidate in this race on either side of the aisle that is accepting the corporate cash corrupting congress. i think the reason so many voters across the country have been disgusted with the united states senate is because too many folks in that chamber have become wholly-owned subsidiaries
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of the special interest that bankrolled their campaigns. i think you can see it on health reform, on financial reform, on climate change. we're not getting the reforms we need, and that's a big part of the reason why. >> i want to show you a forum already where you appeared with senator bennet and there was an interesting exchange you had. it happened last month. take a listen. >> i appreciate the accord that's breaking out on the stage, but -- [ applause ] >> and i welcome you to join our team. i love you and i wish you were running a primary against one of the people that is causing the problem we're talking about. >> i have to say, i go from congressman sestak and senator specter who are accusing each other of being criminals, it was a virtual love fest. so i guess i go back at you, at this time and the democratic parties under siege here, what is the fireable offense that michael bennet has done that says no michael bennet, he's got
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to get out of there. democrats, fire him. >> sure. let me give you a couple examples, chuck. last spring the senate banking committee had a chance to protect americans from foreclosure by allowing them to go to bankruptcy court and renegotiate the terms of their mortgages. you can do that under the law today if you've got a yacht, a second home, an investment property, you can protect it from foreclosure. but if you're like most of us with just one home to your name, you can't do that. it's an especially important problem here in colorado which has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. the senate banking committee, including my opponent, killed that bill. and the members of that committee, including my opponent, were rewarded with hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign contributions in the banking industry. in fact, the fellow i'm running against is the single biggest recipient of cash and the number one in the senate. that's something i will avoid by turning down those special interest contributions in the first place. >> we're going to have to leave it there. i know our time is short.
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mr. romanoff, thank you for joining us. we'll be talking about this race a lot, i think, before the august primary. >> thanks, chuck. this one, republican john ensign of nevada. the new york times is reporting that investigators have new evidence that ensign may have tried to find lobbying work for the husband of his ex-mistress. it's a scandal that will prove more damaging even if it's not selacious. this is "hardball" on msnbc.
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. we'll take a look at this incredible scene from the national memorial. it's tom hanks joined by 250 world war ii vets ranz to thank them for their service. they are in town for their new hbo mini series "the pacific" which follows the stories of three real-life marines fighting the pacific war before world war
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ii. "the pacific" starts this sunday on hbo. "hardball" returns right after this. [ male announcer ] when we built our first hybrid, youtube didn't exist. and facebook was still run out of a dorm room. when we built our first hybrid, more people had landlines than cell phones, and gas was $1.75 a gallon. and now, while other luxury carmakers are building their first hybrids, lexus hybrids have traveled 5.5 billion miles. and that's quite a head start. ♪
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hook, line, sinker. done. last year i had an affair. i violated the bowels of my marriage. it's absolutely the worst thing that i've ever done in my life. >> that may be the worst thing he's done in his life as far as personal, but he's now got some professional issues. welcome back to "hardball." time now for the politics fix.
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that was senator ensign in june. he's been under investigation by both the senate ethics committee and the fbi. the investigators think they have evidence that the senator tried to get lobbying work for a former aide that just happens to be the husband of senator ensign's former mistress. how much trouble is he in? we're going to talk about ensign and also get into the middle east and joe biden and that rough trip over there. nobody having a good week, it seems, this week. gentlemen, this seems to be, in an odd way, a much more serious charge than finger i can massa is dealing with. >> he's still there. massa resigned, so that stops the bleeding for the democrats and the house. ensign is not going to resign, apparently. he's made that clear in the last few months, but it's the use of his office, too. >> by the way, for the record, the ensign folks have put out a statement and they've denied he has done anything illegal or against the law, which includes this allegation of using his
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office to get lobby votes. >> if it's true, the assertion that he used his office for a former chief of staff, lobbying contracts looks pretty bad. it's basically using your office to cover up for your own personal discretion. >> david, so you're saying -- go 10,000 feet for me for a minimum. all this democratic mess that the democrats are dealing with, and house republicans are pretty giddy about getting these resolutions, how did they handle this john ensign thing and what did the average voter see? >> i think when the average voter sees this, they don't necessarily see republican scandals versus democratic scandals. remember when the republicans had so many scandals before the 2008 election cycle, and at that time you saw president bush later on actually blame the problems that they ran into -- sorry, this was 2006 --
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>> yeah, karl rove, to this day, doesn't blame iraq. >> he blames the scandal. and president bush, one evening when he was meeting with reporters, said it had nothing with iraq, it had everything to do with the scandals. i don't really buy that argument, but the more these things break out, they do have the effect of cancelling each other out. >> they can muddy the waters on the eric massa scandal. it's pretty blunt there with ethics charges. >> eric massa is out. there no more investigation. walk me through nevada politics and why isn't john ensign out? >> because we have a government out there that is in battle. they will appoint somebody if ensign wants to resign. they have zone issues, divorced his wife, allegations of adultery there, is really held in contempt by the establishment out there in nevada, the
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republican establishment, so there is a concern kind of like in south carolina, what's worse, that he stays or he goes, because what next? >> and the trickle-down has been any of the republicans that they would like to run against harry reid are waiting for john ensign to leave, right? >> the only other people out there are challanger harry reid. >> when was the last time we were all focused on nevada politics on a national scale? it is pretty remarkable. >> it used to be what happens in nevada stays in nevada. you guys are killing me. we're going to come back and talk joe biden, middle east and a little israeli domestic politics after this. you're watching "hardball." and dipped in creamy peanut butter, making your craving for a sweet & salty bar irresistible, by nature valley.
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and we're back with politicos jonathan martin. let's go with your love, your beat here, foreign policy mid-east peace. what's going on? the vice president makes a much-needed trip to try to fix
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the peace, and they just virtually slap him. >> this story has played out so many times before. there are secretaries of state that go back to jim baker's time who would land, and israelis would announce settlements that would get in the way, so this movie has run before, and it sort of makes you wonder why it was they weren't better prepared for this. now, the state department will tell you, the white house will tell you that they believe prime minister net anyahu didn't know vice president biden was there. so they would have felt a whole lot better if biden had left town first, okay? the fact of the matter is the obama administration last year declared that the settlements had to freeze as a way of getting the talks started. then they began gradually to back away from that last
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september, and they've been backing away. but this is a real back-away to have happen, and that's what the fascinati fascinating issue was in my mind, when vice president biden issued a statement, he said, i condemn this decision. that's the kind of language that the united states uses when north korea -- >> yeah, condemn. jonathan, you were on some of these early trips with us on the white house press corps. remember all of the bravado they had, we're going to start the mideast peace talks right away, we're not like biden. >> that's not going to stop republicans from seizing on this and saying, look, this administration abroad is not respected. they're going to have to do these kinds of things because this administration is not viewed in a way

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